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Canon EOS 30D

By: Shawn Barnett and Dave Etchells

Myriad minor feature and interface tweaks make a great SLR even better.

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Page 1:Intro and Highlights

Review First Posted: 04/14/2006


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The Canon EOS-30D is the latest in Canon's broad line of digital SLR models, but it is more evolutionary than revolutionary, keeping most of what was excellent about its predecessor, the EOS 20D. Canon says they listened to feedback from 20D customers and made modifications to make an even better 20D. The resulting Canon 30D still has the same 8 megapixel sensor, main processor, and basic body design of the 20D, but it's been augmented with a larger screen, a more durable shutter, and a 3.5% spot metering mode, among other improvements.

As did the 20D, the new Canon 30D offers impressive noise performance at high ISOs, with the result that its images at ISO 1600 are remarkably clean-looking, and its shots at ISO 3200 are very usable. Simultaneous with the increase in resolution, the Canon EOS 30D also brings improved shooting speed, with a 5 frame/second continuous mode and unusually deep buffer memory. For all its technical sophistication though, the camera avoids any sense of needless technology for technology's sake: The Canon EOS 30D is clearly focused on a single purpose: Helping photographers capture excellent images. Read on, there's a lot of ground to cover...


Canon 30D Highlights

  • 8.2-megapixel, 22.5 x 15.0mm, 12-bit RGB CMOS sensor delivering 3,504 x 2,336-pixel images.
  • Single-lens reflex digital camera with interchangeable lenses (supports all Canon EOS series lenses, plus new EF-S, short back focus lenses). Focal length multiplier of 1.6x as compared to a 35mm camera.
  • New, 1/3 stop variable ISO (100, 125, 160, 200, 250, 320, 400, 500, 640, 800, 1,000, 1,250, 1,600, and 3,200 settings).
  • TTL optical viewfinder with detailed information display, diopter adjustment, and depth-of-field preview.
  • New 3.5% spot metering mode.
  • New four-step battery display.
  • New shutter rated at 100,000 cycles (20D shutter was not rated).
  • 0.15 second startup time (we measured ~0.1).
  • New selectable option of RGB or Luminance histogram.
  • 2.5-inch, TFT LCD with 230,000 pixels and a 170 degree angle of view.
  • Automatic, Shutter Priority, Aperture Priority, Depth-of-Field AE, Programmed AE (Landscape, Macro, Night Portrait, Portrait, Sports, and Flash Off), and Manual exposure modes.
  • Operates in "shooting priority mode," meaning the camera does not need to be set in "play" mode to view pictures. Pictures can be viewed in between shots, and even if camera is showing a picture or in a menu, pressing the Shutter button halfway prepares camera to take a photo immediately.
  • Continuous Shooting mode capturing as many as 28 full res JPEG images (10 RAW) as fast as five frames per second with shutter at 1/250 second or faster (according to our testing).
  • New Low speed mode captures 36 frames at 3.0 frames per second (12 RAW; according to our testing).
  • New folder format allows up to 9,999 images per folder (20D allowed only 100).
  • Variable white balance with Auto, six manual presets, Custom (reads from a neutral gray or white card), a color temperature setting, and a special White Balance Correction and Auto Bracketing mode. White balance can be changed on-capture for RAW-format files, using either presets or manually selecting a neutral target in the image from which to reference white point.
  • TTL autofocus with nine focusing points, manually or automatically selectable. One shot AF, AI Servo AF with focus prediction, AI Focus AF, and manual focus with AF assist beam.
  • Built-in E-TTL II type retractable-type flash with red-eye reduction. Guide Number is 13/43 at ISO 100, m/ft, flash angle covers the field of a 17mm lens. Topside hot shoe for external flash connection of EX Speedlight flashes, E-TTL II, as well as a PC flash sync socket.
  • Flash exposure compensation of +/- 2 stops in one-half or one-third stop increments. Flash exposure lock function. First and second curtain sync function. External shoe supports E-TTL, E-TTL II, FEL, and FP (high speed sync) flash metering.
  • Red-eye Reduction by built in illuminator.
  • Adjustable exposure compensation from -2 to +2 EV in 1/2 EV or 1/3 EV increments in all exposure modes.
  • Auto exposure bracketing (AEB) from -2 to +2 EV in 1/2 EV or 1/3 EV increments in all autoexposure modes.
  • White balance bracketing.
  • Shutter speeds from 1/8,000 to 30 seconds, and a Bulb setting for longer exposures.
  • Electronic self-timer with a fixed duration of 10 seconds.
  • Optional external hand grip/battery pack adds secondary shutter release and control wheel, as well as AE lock and focus point buttons for vertical-format shooting.
  • Image storage on CompactFlash Type I or II, compatible with Hitachi MicroDrives.
  • USB 2.0 connectivity. NTSC/PAL selectable video out connectivity. N3 remote control socket.
  • 24-bit JPEG and 36-bit RAW data file formats. Available resolution settings are: 3,504 x 2,336; 2,544 x 1,696; and 1,728 x 1,152.
  • Backlit LCD data readout, for easier operation in the dark.
  • Magnesium-alloy body panels, stainless steel chassis.
  • DPOF (Digital Print Order Format) and DCF (Design Rule for Camera File System) and PictBridge compliant.
  • New PictBridge modes allow greater image adjustment, new paper sizes, and contact sheet printing, straight from the camera.


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